Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Marais presents a solo exhibition of New York-based artist Elizabeth Peyton (b. 1965), featuring new oil paintings on linen and board, as well as works on paper.
Singing and dancing, man expresses himself as a member of a higher community: he has forgotten how to walk and talk, and is about to fly dancing into the heavens. His gestures express enchantment. Just as the animals now speak, and the earth yields up milk and honey, he now gives voice to supernatural sounds: he feels like a god, he himself now walks about enraptured and elated as he saw the gods walk in dreams. Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art: the artistic power of the whole of nature reveals itself to the supreme gratification of the primal Oneness amidst the paroxysms of intoxication. —Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, 1872. (Translated by Shaun Whiteside; Penguin Editions, 1993)
For me a portrait is a vehicle to see the whole universe.
Through a face I can see everything that exists.
— Elizabeth Peyton, 2021
For the first time in France in over a decade, Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Marais presents a solo exhibition of New York-based artist Elizabeth Peyton (b. 1965), featuring new oil paintings on linen and board, as well as works on paper.
One of the most influential painters of her generation, Peyton's paintings capture a depth of feeling that makes palpable the vulnerability of her subjects. ‘I’m fascinated with what people do with themselves and how that might show up on their face’ she stated in a recent interview, explaining that the face is for her a ‘vessel’ capable of taking us from individual feelings to universal human experiences.
Peyton works from life, photographs, video, and memory. She told The White Review in 2019: ‘Sometimes I like the magical things that come from my own bad photography or photos I take from my computer screen. They might contain something that you would never see in “real” life.’ She also said recently, referring to these new works, ‘there is nothing like the experience of working from life – it begins as an unknown and where there was nothing there is suddenly a something – a kind of transmission.’ All of these works were made in New York City.
The exhibition follows Peyton’s unprecedented retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2019, in which her portraits were interspersed with the museum’s collection, and which then travelled to the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing in 2020.
About the artist
Elizabeth Peyton lives and works in New York. Her work first attracted public attention in 1993 when an exhibition of her historical portraits was shown in Room 828 at the Chelsea Hotel. Subsequently, Peyton's work was notably featured in Projects 60: John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton, Luc Tuymans at MoMA in 1997, and in 2004, a number of portraits were selected for the Whitney Biennial. In 2008, a mid-career retrospective, Live Forever, was organised by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and travelled to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht. In 2017, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art presented Elizabeth Peyton: Still Life, the first major survey of Peyton's art in Japan. The same year, the Villa Medici in Rome exhibited Elizabeth Peyton & Camille Claudel: Eternal Idol. Other solo exhibitions include: Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2013); Gallery Met, The Metropolitan Opera, New York (2011, 2014 and 2016); and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2009). Most recently, Peyton had a major retrospective at London's National Portrait Gallery. This exhibition, titled Aire and Angels (2019-2020), travelled to UCCA, Beijing, as Elizabeth Peyton: Practice in 2020.
Elizabeth Peyton's works have been collected by leading public institutions and collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; The Cranford Collection, Guernsey, UK; Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Rubell Museum, Miami; Saint Louis Art Museum; Seattle Art Museum; Boros Collection, Berlin; and The Museum of Modern Art in New York which has acquired more than 30 Peyton drawings and paintings in the past 25 years.